Let’s see, how many years has it been since the dental hygienist came to our first grade class to show us how to brush our teeth? You may be surprised to know that even brushing teeth is done a little bit differently in France.
If you remember one of the very first Parislogue posts, I mentioned that Paris is all about circles, and that goes for tooth brushing as well. Don’t brush up or down, but use small circles, never forgetting any of the corners. When you get to your front teeth, you need to turn your toothbrush vertical – and with quick thrusts against the inner gums and inner front teeth – you’ll succeed in ridding your mouth for years to come of tartar.
My new Paris dentist has assured me that he hasn’t had any tartar since the 1980s. He disdains dental floss and mouthwash. “In the US you’ve been using that mouthwash since the 1950s,” he scoffed.
Here, dentists suggest a wooden wedged sort of toothpick. The average cost for a visit to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned falls in the range of 20 to 30 Euros. The added preventative tips cost more (but you’ve just learned this for free on Parislogue). A visit with dental X-rays may cost up to 60 Euros. Dentists here (in my experience) do not use scare tactics to induce you into doing costly procedures that may be unnecessary. Equipment is modern and efficient.
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If you should have a dental emergency while in Paris, the best thing to do is to stop by your local pharmacy and ask to be referred to a dentist in the neighborhood. Normally, pharmacies have a list of local doctors. When you’re referred by a pharmacy, you are likely to get an appointment more quickly. (By the way, this also works in Los Angeles!).
Paris dentists, like many medical professionals in France, hire not more than one employee – or they may work completely on their own. In some cases, they work out of their own apartment. Even though the idea of working out of one’s apartment may feel ‘unprofessional’ for those who are used to formal office settings, this by no means suggests that the standard of service is anything less than completely professional.
What does this mean for the client? It means that your dentist pays much lower overhead and can pass along the savings to you. This may not last forever, but for those who spend any time in Europe, it’s a real pleasure to be welcomed into a home office or at least an office that reflects the personality of one’s doctor or dentist.
If you’re so unfortunate as to have a toothache while in France, do not despair. Paris has some great dentists.